Saturday, 22 April 2017

Diana talks to ... (wait for it!) ... herself!!

Hi Diana! What are you doing talking to yourself like this?
It is the best way I know to get an intelligent answer every time!!
I am indulging myself as it is fair to say that today is the birthday of one of the best loved and extraordinary people of all time.

((Sings Happy birthday to herself in off key contralto...))
It is also Shakespeare’s birthday!
Seriously, so many people have said, Di, you are everywhere around literary groups, but who are you? - some have not put quite it so politely! – so here is my attempt to let you all get to know me a bit better.
(Well. Not *all*. You know who you are! You know me quite well enough!)
First things first I am sure there is a question that you have always longed to be asked. Now is the chance. Ask your own question and answer it!
Not so much a question as an explanation of sorts. So many people query why I do not write, when I obviously love it and occasionally show an aptitude for putting words together and forming a series of sentences.
Many years ago I was young. This was not a unique experience as I find this is a stage of life that has happened to everyone.

Except possibly my Uncle Derrick.  But let us not talk about him ...
My first ambition when I was about three was to be a mummy ‘because the daddies had to go out and do work and I didn’t want to ever do work; I wanted to stay at home and drink tea all day and have fun messing around.’
Hmm. I wonder how that would have worked out for me???
Anyway, by the age of seven I had discovered reading and I mean discovered it big time. Every hour I was able, I buried myself in a book. It is fair to say that my childhood was mostly spent living vicariously on Kirren Island and in the Five Find Outers Shed! Ultimately, being a diffident and lonely child, I wanted to write my own adventure stories and, with ruthless efficiency, and a yellow plastic pen I loved, I created villains and heroes, buried treasure and lost dogs...
At last I felt I was living!I had friends. I had a life!
Then the time came for the careers talk with the headmistress. The other girls were going in and stammering, ‘Well, Miss, I s’pose I could work in Woolworth’s’ or ‘Can I cut hair, Miss?’ or, ‘I’m gonna get married and have lots of babbies like me mam...’
I knew what I wanted to do! My ambition was great! I was going to be an author!
I strode in and announced my dream to the formidable, black robe clad  figure.
She glared at me over her half moon glasses. ‘Don’t be silly, Diana. Authors are ladies of means who live in cottages in Cornwall. If you want to do something with the English Language, TEACH IT!’
Needless to say, I never wrote and I never, ever taught!
My ambition was extinguished with those words and only this past two years has it gradually reawaken.
Completely by accident about a month ago, following a chance humorous remark by author Paula Lofting, I began to write what was to be a one off excerpt... but it grew! It will probably never turn into a novel, but I am enjoying every second of this writing process.  So. Maybe one day!
If your series of excerpts (ahem) with the working title ‘Monkey Mating in the Andes’ was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role?
This lady is not an actress, but an exceptional writer. Manda Scott would play Helen so perfectly.
What made you choose this genre? How do you get ideas for plots and characters?
Um...I had to fit a plot around Paula Lofting’s comment about Monkey Mating! The rest just grew. I was very surprised when the whole thing got highjacked by an Ecuadorian drug cartel. I didn’t intend them being in the story!
If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!)  you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?
A vague idea. Prehistoric Cornwall; iron age trading routes between the continent and the Cornish tin mines.
Marmite? Love it or hate it?
Mmmmm. Love Marmite, but totally absolutely adore Bovril (though it is not quite so nice now the ingredients have been changed)
Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??
I’m too new to this to have developed any routine. When I am making research notes or writing notes for a review, I always use a pencil - may be because I can never find a pen! It is just a shame that I don’t keep all my notes in just one note book. They are spread between odd scraps of paper, the backs of receipts, about five notebooks (depending on which room I am in, the programme from the play I saw last February and (occasionally) on tissues and train tickets.
I promise I won’t tell them the answer to this, but when you are writing, who is more important, your family or your characters?
I live alone. Maybe the reason I live alone is that work to me is generally the most important driving force to me!
Hmm. I just realised! It could, however, be argued that if I did not live alone, I would not need the driving force of work!
Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?
I do it! I run a business selling vintage printing equipment, mainly from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I have done this full time for ten years now. I love it. Click here to find out more about my business, 'd.arcadian'.

Coffee or tea? Red or white?
Preferably the strongest possible coffee, all day every day, but as it no long seems to suit me I have about one cup every six weeks....So tea it is. I don’t drink alcohol, but I drink litres and litres of sparkling water with fresh lime juice.
If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose? As my main job is as a Letterpress Seller (extraordinaire), one would think I would have an amazing idea up my sleeve. I have, but it is nothing to do with printing!
Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?
My father’s will. Long story. Nuff said. ((Sad face))
How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips? I am too new to writing to have gone on a research trip yet, but a year or so ago, I did begin to adopt the habit of a journalist friend of mine, who was doing a Creative Writing course. The idea was to make copious notes of every experience and trip so that when you needed to write a scene about *There* you had the back up notes already done.
Are you prepared to go away from the known facts for the sake of the story and if so how do you get around this?
No. I hate finding factual errors in a fiction book. It demeans the whole book and makes me view it all with suspicion.
Do you find that the lines between fact and fiction sometimes become blurred? In my life or in my writing? In my life, yes. All the time. In writing, no. I keep a very clear line between the two.
What do you enjoy reading for pleasure? Books, mainly. Condiment labels. Menus... Road signs.
Favourite living author?
CW Lovatt. His command of the English language and his mastery of primary, secondary and tertiary plots are exceptional. I am genuinely unsure whether MJ Logue comes joint first or a very close second with her extraordinary story telling ability and vivid characters

Now I have some questions sent to me by Review readers.

What do y’all look for in non fiction history/biography that make it a good one for you?
The author has to be able to make me care about the subject. Dr Ian Mortimer’s 1415: Henry V's Year of Glory, grabbed me on page one and kept me page turning right until the end. The book awoke a passion for discovering more about Henry V and this era that still exists.

Now a question from Angela: I would like to ask what makes you laugh, but your reply would be too long. lol x
It is easier to tell you what does ‘not’ make me laugh. Comedy! Comedic films. Sit com. Almost all stand up. Panel shows that are meant to be humorous and just seem to me banal.
Oh. One more. Mrs Brown.
I did, however, laugh like a drain at one of Aristophanes' plays when I read it in the original language. It was hilarious and totally untranslatable.
Perhaps I am a bit strange!

Jayne asked: what made you join the Review and take on this task?

I was in hospital at the time with a badly broken leg. I think maybe the morphine warped my thinking a little!
Strangely I decided voluntarily to start *Diana talks* and I love every second of it. It began by me deciding to go to HNS16 in Oxford. I wondered what I could do, that would be of value to the Review, with all these authors in one place at the same time. After I had ruled out the idea of the Bacchanalia on the grounds that it may not be of use to the Review, I decided to talk at them...

From Liz: Looking back from where you are now, what would you say to yourself when you didn’t think it was possible? Generally something like FFS. Get a grip woman!  Strangely, I was the last person to know what a strong woman I am.

Which fictional character have you liked the least.
Seargent Bell, in Josiah Stubb; The Siege of Louisbourg by C.W Lovatt. Most characters have redeeming features. Bell has no redeeming quality whatsoever.

Trust Paula to come up with this one!
Who lights your fire and who puts it out?
I have an open fireplace and a beautiful dog grate set into the hearth.
At the moment, my fire needs kindling and a nice, big stick. No further comment!

© Diana Milne April 2017








Wednesday, 19 April 2017

!Aly - by Peter Cane: reviewed by Diana Milne

The author is generously donating  paper copy of this book as a prize in the draw. To enter, please leave a comment on the blog itself, or in the comments section below in either the Review or the Review Blog.
It is worth having!

The opening pages of !Aly are compelling, dragging the reader in, almost against their will, with an air of mystery and promise and slight but tangible menace that thrills the soul and makes one want to know more, but with the warning that once read this can never be unread...
Taking a little known and never before written about character depicted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, first time author Peter Cane weaves a spell binding story around this Moorish slave figure,     revealing not only who his father is, but his owner and combining all the well known artists and personages of the era in a gripping multi layered story that will leave fans of the Da Vinci Code hanging on to every word.
In a friendly and confiding monologue style, reminiscent of Moshin Hamid at his best, Cane explores the personal lives and relationships of   more known names than are in Brett’s Peerage, showing how they interweave and shapeshift to suit their purposes.
Meticulously researched, the book takes us travelling and much of the action is set on the benighted island of Hispaniola, where the inhabitants were exterminated by explorers who are also deeply involved and entwined in the saga. Not only is the plot multi layered and complex, but the characters are also multilayered and no one is who they really seem to be.  It is the story of an enigma in a conundrum wrapped up in a puzzle! In addition the book can be read on many levels, each reader finding his or her own truth and story within its pages.
Fleeing from a heinous act, perpetrated to save his young cousin from rap, the protagonist Aly escapes to the afore mentioned Hispaniola and whilst on board ship he muses on the duality of good versus evil, a theme that recurs throughout the tome, at one point ‘proving’ that all evil can be justified by the Bible. The reader is aware that Aly’s status is that of a slave, but as he has previously hinted that his father is a very famous artist, the exact nature of his standing is ambiguous. We glean that names to these people (as yet mostly unidentified) are not used as identifiers but as tools to further their cause, an unusual stance that becomes clearer as the book progresses.
Written in beautiful language with the assured confidence of a writer of many years standing, it is a surprise to find that this is Peter Cane’s first book. He masterfully displays his knowledge of the Bible and Biblical religion, Mythology, history, art and artists and the execution of art works, languages, geography and even touches on Leonardo’s philosophy of painting, without ever the reader feeling they are being lectured to. We are treated to a look at Erasmus’ satire about Pope Julius and a fascinating look at his life and then, interspersed with the more learned elements, we have a poetically beautiful description of nature, slotted in with the ease of a good wordsmith.
This novel is a tour de force that needs to be read.
You may read Peter Merlin Cane's  blog here.
You may buy the book here Aly

About the concept behind the book and a short (ish) biography of Peter Cane
In 2012 something quite unexpected, and not entirely welcome, fell in my lap. I had long been intrigued by why we feel what we feel when we look at art, and I even participated in the birth of a new field of study – that of Bioaesthetics. It’s about our innate sensory triggers, triggers which when activated create emotions and urges… drives such as fear, and the need to take a step back - or the compulsion to reach out and fondle… or that simply make us stop in our tracks, freeze, hold our breaths and stare in astonishment - tension triggers, that is.​While trying to figure out how these work, I was seeking flexed curves, taut coils and tight twists, in particular in Michelangelo’s sculptures - or trying to, but being a bit inept in my choice of Google words, all I got was images of his ‘Creation of Adam’, painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Try as I might, God insisted in reaching out to spark Adam into life. And then the penny dropped – that pregnant gap between the two soaring fingers was just what I was looking for... it was the focal point of the entire ceiling, and maybe the most famous and most effective tension trigger in the history of Art.

And then everything went pear-shaped. I saw something else in the sky that most certainly should not have been there. Having done a fair amount of research into camouflage, I began to suspect that Michelangelo had hidden it there to get his own back on the patron who had forced him to paint his ceiling, His Holiness the Pope. So I did the standard digital enhancement one does when trying to crack that sort of disguise, and sure enough (although I rarely admit to this part of the story now), I was faced with what seemed to be… well, I can’t repeat politely what it was, enough to say it was floating in the clouds behind Adam’s hand.

Somewhat nonplussed, I did the same enhancement on that celebrated space between the two fingers, and to my amazement, there slowly emerged a string of letters. They spelt the word ‘chiave’, Italian for ‘key’. And it was indeed the key, the key to the utterly unimaginable, and shockingly true meaning of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. And that, and the far larger and even more devastating secret that then emerged, is what gave rise to my discovery of Aly.

But you wanted to know about me… well, just turned 70, a figure that I believe only when – despite all my efforts – I catch sight of myself in the mirror. Buried beneath the wrinkles, and beyond the wish to leave this world a better place, though, is a 20 year-old, determined to live life to the full, travel (and think) broadly, and be part of everything new and exciting. So - until a few years ago I lived on the Tropic of Capricorn, where I used to bump into porcupines and opossums when walking the Beagle or the Husky late at night; I would listen to cicadas; sigh and foment sedition when my children were told in school that a European 'discovered' Brazil; got told off by my wonderful partner for not wearing my hearing aid at the dinner table; and ate far too much chocolate. Now I live in Canada, and still walk the dogs, but stay away from the path by the stream at night where the skunks hang out. And the beavers - if those teeth could fell a tree, I'm keeping my distance from them too.


And the name? Peter Cane is a nom-de-plume, alas, but an illustrious one. I named myself after a little dog in one of Jan van Eyck’s paintings, one who heard everything that went on… loved everyone who was kind to him… and knew everybody’s secrets!
This review has been written by Diana Milne © April 2017
More on the subject was written by Jeff de Cuisine in this blog about Anne of Cleeves.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Diana talks to C W Lovatt

Today I welcome C. W. Lovatt to *Diana Talks... *

C. W. (Chuck) Lovatt, is the author of the

Charlie Smithers Collection;

And then it Rained and currently the first two parts in the on going Josiah Stubb series, the second one of which, the excellent

Josiah Stubb: Interim,

was released to great excitement on 14th April, by Wild Wolf Publishing.

The Hi Chuck. It is a real pleasure to talk to you here. Not only do I consider you a friend, I consider you an exceptionally talented writer. I am delighted to have the opportunity to see  a little of what goes on inside that formidably intelligent brain of yours ...

Are you sitting comfortably.


Well, never mind... (sigh) ... let's just get on with the talk ...

First things first I am sure there is a question that you have always longed to be asked. Now is the chance. Ask your own question and answer it!

My own question, eh? Hmm, that is different! Let’s see, I’m going to go with ‘what’s it like being a writer?’

Well, it’s not as glamorous as I thought it would be, but remember I’ve dreamed of becoming a writer almost as soon as I learned how to read. As a consequence, there’s been plenty of time for that dream to grow to surpass all reason. For instance, I was going to own a tropical island and live in a house that opened up like a clam shell – you know, glamorous stuff like that. It’s laughable now, even risible, but that dream stood me in good stead over the years, through some really bleak times. When others (ie sane people) had nothing at all, I would always have that dream to sustain me. So when that long awaited first royalty cheque arrived and that dream vanished with an almost audible ‘pop,’ I couldn’t really begrudge its leaving, because it had already served me so well.

If your latest book, “Interim,” the second book of the Josiah Stubb trilogy, was adapted into a TV show or a film, who would you like to play the lead role?

I had to get some help with this one as I’m not as up on film actors as I used to be. A friend suggested Tom Hardy, so let’s go with him to play Josiah Stubb.

What made you choose this genre?

Historical Fiction appeals to me, so I figured that, if I’m going to sit down and write something as lengthy as a novel – to dedicate so much of myself, pouring my heart and guts out onto the page - it had better be about something that I’m interested in.

How do you get ideas for plots and characters?

Plots and characters are what make writing such a joy. Plots are usually the product of a ‘eureka’ moment I often have when something triggers the kernel of an idea. As far as characters go, I’ve never written any with a preconceived idea in mind, just as I’ve never had a preconceived idea about meeting a person. We introduce ourselves as would anyone else, and get to know one another over the course of time.

If, as a one off, (and you could guarantee publication!)  you could write anything you wanted, is there another genre you would love to work with and do you already have a budding plot line in mind?

I began my career writing short stories, with some success, winning awards and so on. During that time there can’t have been too many genres that I didn’t explore. In that light, I’m not afraid of other genres, in fact we’re old friends, and many examples can be found in in an eclectic anthology I’m very proud of entitled “And Then It Rained.”  (Note from Diana: If "And Then It Rained" is not my favourite book of all time, it certainly is there in the top three. Heck! What am I saying?? Thinking of the title story again and others that I love with a passion bordering on insanity for a story, yep, it has just been promoted to definitely my favourite book of all time!)

Was becoming a writer a conscious decision or something that you drifted into (or even something so compelling that it could not be denied?) How old were you when you first started to write seriously.

I would have to say that it was compelling. Why, I’ve no idea, it’s just something that I’ve come to accept over time. I wrote my first novel, longhand, back in my mid to late twenties, and you have to be serious to tackle a project like that.

Marmite? Love it or hate it?'s an acquired taste...

Do you have any rituals and routines when writing? Your favourite cup for example or ‘that’ piece of music...??

I suppose my greatest ritual is to try to clear my desk before starting a new project. I need to keep distractions to a minimum, so that finding that ‘centre’ is more achievable. After that, it’s pretty much whatever works. I’ve written with the music on and with it off, in my office, in front of the television, out on my deck at night, or in the morning (summer and winter,) and out under the giant cottonwoods in my yard. Each novel has had its own routine, and I’m rather curious what it will be for my next one. Really, I’m a bit like a cat before taking a nap, turning and turning, before finally finding the place where I’m most comfortable.
(Note from Diana: Hmm. Clear? Desk? Clear desk?  Nope. I don't understand those words put together in that format!)

I promise I won’t tell them the answer to this, but when you are writing, who is more important, your family or your characters?

That’s a very good question and I’m glad you asked it! Next question, please…
((Laughing. Loudly!!))

Other than writing full time, what would be your dream job?

I always wanted to be the next Neal Young.
(Note from Diana: Well, you can't. End of.)

Coffee or tea? Red or white?

Ooo, herbal tea, please (don’t judge,) and red.

How much of your work is planned before you start? Do you have a full draft or let it find its way?

I don’t have a plan, and that includes not having a plan to not having a plan. Sometimes I’ll write at least a partial outline, and sometimes I won’t write one at all. It depends on the project and (I’m coming to suspect) the phase of the moon.  😂

If you had free choice over the font your book is printed in, what font/fonts would you choose?

Trust YOU to ask this one! Okay then, let’s see: so far Times New Roman is working for me, but you never know what the future holds. What I can tell you is that I’m not a fan of Helvetica.
(Everyone hates Helvetica! Printers hated Helvetica. It was the 'new big thing and everyone wanted it', but it was expensive and hard to get hold of.)

Imagine that you could get hold of any original source document. What would it be?

The note that Lord Raglan scribbled to Lord Lucan, that caused the The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Have any of your characters ever shocked you and gone off on their own adventure leaving you scratching your head??? If so how did you cope with that!?

Oh those characters! When haven’t they shocked me? But the thing to remember about writing is that it’s not about you, it’s about the story – always the story – and the thing to remember about the story is that it’s the characters who are telling it, the writer is merely the chronicler. So in answer to your question I pretty much give them their head, and try to keep up.

How much research do you do and do you ever go on research trips?

Writing Historical Fiction requires extensive research…that is if you don’t want to look like an absolute fool. Nothing drives me around the bend more than to read such a work and find that it is riddled with inaccuracies. Further, I feel strongly that a work of Historical Fiction should be seen as an alternate reference book – something that takes those dry old textbooks, that we’ve all had to endure in school, and makes them interesting by weaving a tale through the facts.

As for research trips, I often travel to where the story is taking place, but not always. For the first book of the Josiah Stubb trilogy I went to see the fortress of Louisbourg for myself, and then on to St. John’s Newfoundland. For the second and third books, I travelled to Quebec City, and then drove the length of the Gaspé Peninsula. In 2015 I flew down to Australia and drove across the Nullarbor Plain while researching for “Adventures Downunder” – the latest in the Charlie Smithers Collection.

Fiction authors have to contend with real characters invading our stories. Are there any ‘real’ characters you have been tempted to prematurely kill off or ignore because you just don’t like them or they spoil the plot?

Good lord no! If they spoil the plot, then it’s the plot that’s at fault. Create another one, by all means, but if you value your credibility, don’t alter the facts by one iota.

Are you prepared to go away from the known facts for the sake of the story and if so how do you get around this?

See above. Blasphemy!

Do you find that the lines between fact and fiction sometimes become blurred?

I certainly hope so; it’s my business to do just that.

Have you ever totally hated or fallen in love with one of your characters?
Loiyan, my first leading lady, I loved her desperately.

(Note from Diana: We, the readers, could tell the depth of feeling with which this wonderful woman was written. It shone throughout the pages of not just the first book, but the second and third. I will never forget her plaintive cry of Charleeeee.)

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure?
Anything, as long as it’s well written.

What drink would you recommend drinking whilst reading your latest book?

A good stiff tot of something distilled. The action gets a bit intense at times.

Last but not least... favourite author?

My idol, George MacDonald Fraser, the author of the Flashman books.

Thank you, Chuck. That was a wonderful talk. On Wednesday 19th April, Rob Bayliss is reviewing Interim, here on the blog.
You can read C W Lovatt's blog and find out more about him at Story River
He lives in Canada, where it is cold, and is the self-appointed Writer-In-Residence of Carroll, Manitoba, (population +/- 20).

This tree was upright before being leaned on by our author! Vandal!!

© Diana Milne January 2017 © C W Lovatt April 2017








Friday, 14 April 2017

Josiah Stubb: Interim by CW Lovatt - Reviewed by Rob Bayliss

The author is kindly offering an e-format copy of this brilliant book for the draw. Be sure to comment below or on the Facebook page to be in a chance of winning. To be certain of a pleasurable read you can download from Amazon .


A glance at Ezra’s papers showed that he was well thought of by his commander, experienced in woodcraft, and tracking besides. All in all, a very valuable man.

“These must be presented to Captain Hume,” I told him, “but in the meantime, allow me to take the opportunity to welcome you into our fold.”

Ezra gestured with his chin. “Is that your captain - the one trying to find the shore through the wrong end of that telescope?” I nodded and his shoulders slumped dramatically. “Ain’t this just gonna be a bundle o’ laughs?”


When we first met Josiah Stubb his attempts to escape his abusive upbringing in the gutter of St Johns and enter into polite society has been thwarted; not to mention being denied any future with Elizabeth, the love of his life. Small wonder then, that with the encouragement of the perverse Sergeant Stockingsdale, he would take the King’s Shilling and seek solace in the comradeship of the 51st Grenadiers.

The French and Indian Wars are burning apace as France and Britain vie for dominance. Eager to end the threat to their American colonies once and for all, Britain elects to destroy Acadia – French Canada. So it is that General Wolfe takes the French fortress of Louisburg that guards the mouth of the St Lawrence River, the seaway to French Canada. The 51st serve under Wolfe in this undertaking and Private Stubb proves himself as a capable soldier even thwarting an attempt on the general’s life by a desperate Frenchman. Not everything goes to plan however as Josiah’s best friend, Daniel Hawthorn, deserts after killing a bullying officer.

British Grenadiers at the time of the Siege of Louisburg.

With Louisburg now taken we catch up with the newly promoted Lieutenant Stubb in Interim.

After a successful campaign the bulk of the forces return to St Johns for some much needed rest and recuperation prior to advancing into Canada proper. But not so all the Grenadiers, for General Wolfe has need of them. With French resistance now centred on Quebec, the British to strangle any economic benefit that they may gain from Acadia and secure the entrance to the continental French America by mopping up any resistance from the various fishing villages along the coast.

But it is a more emotive mission that a company of the 51st is ordered to embark upon. Word reaches the British high command that French commander of irregulars, Lieutenant Francois Lalande, has not only managed to escape Louisburg prior to its fall , but also been seen in the vicinity. Lalande is implicated in the massacre of men, women and children by Indians allied to the French after the surrender of Fort William Henry.

Interim moves us along though different points of view; most notably the main protagonist of course but also that of the deserter Daniel Hawthorn. We are also introduced to the native peoples of Canada– the Micmac Indians, through Madame Allard, a native Canadian who was married to a French Canadian. The Micmac are an Indian nation that has long been allied with France and their warriors are all too eager to win scalps.

The North American forests are a fascinating and particularly savage theatre of the Seven Years War. The forests are claustrophobic and suffocating, each tree may conceal an ambush and Mr Lovatt puts the reader on edge. As the redcoats advance, at any moment a war whoop may signal a savage attack, with the crack of muskets and the swinging of tomahawks. It’s one of those books you daren’t put down, just in case something terrible happens.

Brave warriors the Micmac are, but through the eyes of Madame Allard, also known as Rainbow, we see a people trying to adjust to a new reality and the beginnings of the Canada we now know.

Micmacs and French traders

The author, with his unique brand of both humour, creates some astounding characters, each with their own motivation and hidden depths. There is Sergeant Stockingsdale, as warped as ever but still brave and loyal. Lalande is obsessed with saving the Canada he loves but is willing to forget his sense of  honour to achieve it. There is Stubb’s immediate superior Captain Hume; a thoroughly unpleasant opponent to the capable Stubb; the lives of his men mere stepping stones on his path to glory, his hatred for the down-at-heel (but popular officer) Stubb is palpable.

Interim this book may be but you wouldn’t know it, as it’s full of action; bloody battles are fought, love is found in a savage land and in the background, a character from Stubb’s past seeks him out. From Louisburg through savage forests the ultimate goal of Quebec beckons and a debt of blood remains to be paid.

Bravo Mr Lovatt, Josiah Stubb is fast becoming one of my favourite literary characters.

About the author

CW Lovatt is the award winning author of the best-selling Charlie Smithers collection, the short story anthology "And Then It Rained," and the critically acclaimed "Josiah Stubb; The Siege of Louisburg." "Interim" is the second book in the Josiah Stubb trilogy.

Rob Bayliss is a reviewer at The Review and is currently writing his own fantasy series. Information on his writing projects can be found at Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow.